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Plasticity of functional traits varies clinally along a rainfall gradient in Eucalyptus tricarpa


McLean, EH and Prober, SM and Stock, WD and Steane, DA and Potts, BM and Vaillancourt, RE and Byrne, M, Plasticity of functional traits varies clinally along a rainfall gradient in Eucalyptus tricarpa, Plant, Cell and Environment, 37, (6) pp. 1440-1451. ISSN 1365-3040 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/pce.12251


Widespread species often occur across a range of climatic conditions, through a combination of local genetic adaptations and phenotypic plasticity. Species with greater phenotypic plasticity are likely to be better positioned to cope with rapid anthropogenic climate changes, while those displaying strong local adaptations might benefit from translocations to assist the movement of adaptive genes as the climate changes. Eucalyptus tricarpa occurs across a climatic gradient in south-eastern Australia, a region of increasing aridity, and we hypothesized that this species would display local adaptation to climate. We measured morphological and physiological traits reflecting climate responses in nine provenances from sites of 460 to 1040 mm annual rainfall, in their natural habitat and in common gardens near each end of the gradient. Local adaptation was evident in functional traits and differential growth rates in the common gardens. Some traits displayed complex combinations of plasticity and genetic divergence among provenances, including clinal variation in plasticity itself. Provenances from drier locations were more plastic in leaf thickness, whereas leaf size was more plastic in provenances from higher rainfall locations. Leaf density and stomatal physiology (as indicated by δ13C and δ18O) were highly and uniformly plastic. In addition to variation in mean trait values, genetic variation in trait plasticity may play a role in climate adaptation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aridity, climate change, common garden, leaf morphology, intra-species variation, local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, population dependent plasticity
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Zoology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Forestry
Objective Field:Native forests
UTAS Author:Steane, DA (Dr Dorothy Steane)
UTAS Author:Potts, BM (Professor Brad Potts)
UTAS Author:Vaillancourt, RE (Professor Rene Vaillancourt)
ID Code:91527
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:83
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2014-05-21
Last Modified:2017-11-03

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